Where on the planet are you currently located: Auckland, New Zealand
So what exactly is your job and how did you go about to achieve that career path:
I run a global software business from New Zealand. (FirstStep.me notes: Michael's company is called WhereScape and builds data warehouses!)
I studied commerce and computer science at Auckland University. My first role was in user support, but I soon figured out that the company viewed my role as a cost - and that if I wanted to get ahead I should move to a company where computer skills were seen as an asset. After a bit of travelling I went to work for a hardware vendor as a systems engineer, which basically meant being the technical guy that helped the sales guy make sales. It didn't take long to figure out that the sales guy called the shots, worked less and got paid more, so eventually I moved into sales. (FirstStep.me notes: A man with a plan)
What’s a typical working day for you:
Most days are long as they include keeping in touch with what is happening around the planet. If I'm in New Zealand it is doing a bit of everything from planning, marketing and finance through to wandering around to see what everyone is up to. If I'm on the road it is all about meetings - customer, staff and partners.
All jobs have challenges, what would you say are some of yours:
We have an incredibly gifted team of people working for us. Keeping them all motivated and interested and pulling in the same direction is a huge challenge - smart people often have short attention spans!
Where do you see yourself in five years time:
Building a global business means there are always new challenges. I see myself working with more smart and fun people and having more customers using our software to build great solutions. (FirstStep.me says: Awesome!)
Do you believe in studying as a key to success in all careers:
It is the basis of everything. But learning is lifelong. A qualification shows you can learn, but it is only the entry ticket. You need to be able to listen and look, and see where you need to adapt if you want to be successful.
Do you have any career role models that helped motivate your success:
The people around me in each company I have worked with have all taught me something. Now I get the chance to invite people I respect onto our board to more formally help and motivate.
Highlights of your career so far:
Starting our own business, and seeing it grow each year. Having people we respect from companies we admire buying our software and recognizing the value it provides.
Funniest moment of your career so far:
Setting off for a meeting in a suit in the Philippines, walking down the road as it didn't seem far. It wasn't - but by the time I got there my shirt was completely, and I mean completely, soaked as it was so hot and humid. I couldn't take my jacket off for the entire meeting. They thought I was sick - sat me down, bought me glasses of water. At the time I was mortified, now I just plan a little better. (The FirstStep.me team is in stitches laughing, that's as almost as bad as our Singapore adventure!)
Okay serious questions over:
If you weren’t a software guy you would be a doctor without borders -I really admire those guys.
How many countries have you travelled through in the last 5 years:
I have lost count. Mostly Americas, Europe, and the Pacific. Yashivan - when are you going to invite me to South Africa? (FirstStep.me say's: if you don't know who Yashivan is, he is the dude behind FirstStep.me!....FirstStep.me notes: Send Michael an invitation to South Africa!)
What is your favourite movie, website and book:
Where is the music question? (FirstStep.me adds to the invitation note that there needs to be music questions in the interview!)
Movie - Let me be patriotic and say Lord of the Rings. (FirstStep.me says: Typical Kiwi!)
Website - Apart from wherescape.com? My colleagues would say I spent too long on geocaching.com.
Book - The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman is superb, and anything by James Lee Burke.
If you could live on and have your very own planet what would you name it:
My wife says I would have to name it after her as it would have to be perfect like her.
Do you have any role models past and present who inspire you:
Sir Edmund Hillary - for what he did with his fame after Everest as much as for his achievements.
What message do you have for the youth of the world:
Don't ever give less than your best - anytime.
Everything you do, every interaction you have, every impression you make has consequences. They may not be obvious or immediate but they are there and you have influenced them.
And - ideas are nothing without work.
You can find out more about Mike Whitehead's company Wherescape on http://www.wherescape.com